Prophetic Note in Arts • Telegram – June 6, 1942

Article found glued to the back of Tanaka Memorial, Japanese Imperialist Dream

There’s a prophetic cast to the Yun Gee exhibition being presented at the Milch Galleries to aid Democracy-in-Action (affiliated with the British and American Ambulance Corps). For some of the Chinese artist’s pictures, bearing on the international situation and as pertinent in their comments as today’s newspaper, were painted nine and ten years ago. There is, for example, the 1932 canvas called Tanaka Memorial, depicting the late Premier Tanaka of Japan outlining a plan of world conquest to the Emperor and Empress. In it are shown China, Russia and the United States, with Japan plunging a sword into America’s back. Another is dated 1933, and entitled War Dance, its subject a mustached figure wearing the swastika and clasping the Japanese emperor in the figure of a dance.

Most of the other pictures are studio interiors, Central Park landscapes, and nudes. They’re a provocative combination of Occidental and Oriental influences. They’re much closer to modern Western painting in the stylized, simplified, tensely rhythmic manner than they are to traditional Chinese art. But then, as you observe them longer, it occurs to you that the primary influences that determined this variety of modern art were Oriental.